STREETSBORO --Hot and dry conditions across the Northern Ohio region have increased the risk of fires fromback yardfireworks, cookouts, and carelessly tossed cigarettes.

According to Lt. Kevin Grimm of the Streetsboro Fire Department - Fire Prevention Bureau, other summertime activities can become more dangerous with the extremely dry conditions.

  • "A legal back yard cookout can spread into the yard and nearby wooded areas from embers floating into the air. Residents should be extra cautious when cooking outdoors and ensure that the fire and all smoldering materials are completely extinguished with water before leaving the area."
  • Disposing of cigarette butts in appropriate containers and not throwing them onto the side of the road or in a flower bed will help prevent fires as well. "One cigarette thrown onto the side of the road can cause a large brush fire. We have also had numerous calls over the years for smoldering mulch at homes and businesses, all caused by improperly discarded cigarette butts. We always need to be cognizant of our actions, but more so during this extremely dry period" said Grimm.

And as we approachthe Fourth of July, the Streetsboro Fire Department encourages everyone to plan for a safe holiday.

Related story:Dangers of back yard fireworks

According to Fire Chief Robert Reinholz, most fireworks are illegal to discharge in the State of Ohio.

"Sparklers burn at approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing immediate serious burns if contact with the skin is made. A dropped sparkler or smoke bomb set on dry grass can start a grass fire which can spread to nearby wooded areas or homes rapidly," says Reinholz.

Fire officials suggest these simple guidelines:

  • Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision
  • Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of novelty firework being used
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on the trick and novelty device packaging
  • Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others
  • Remain in an area where the grass has been well watered; or stay on a concrete, asphalt or stone surface. ยท Sparkler wires should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout
  • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention.

Statistics from the Ohio Fire Marshal's Office show that fireworks caused more than $600,000 in damages at 90 different house fires last year; 8 fireworks related deaths occurred nationwide; and sparklers and other novelty items account for more than 8,000 emergency room visits each year.